The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday arraigned Muhammed Gital, who is a former Chief of Staff to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on land fraud related offences. The EFCC said in a statement by its Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, that Gital was arraigned alongside, Deputy Director, Mass Housing at the Federal Capital Development Authority, Sani Abba.
They were arraigned before Justice O. C Akpaza of the High Court on four counts including criminal breach of trust, obtaining money by false pretence and abuse of office.
The accused who pleaded not guilty to the charges allegedly conspired and defrauded the Managing Director of Visioni and Strauss Nigeria Limited, Chief Duru Ejiogu, of about N60m. They were said to have defrauded their victim under the pretext that the said sum would be used to facilitate the change of land use in respect of Plot No. 523, Cadastral Zone BOO Kukwaba District from passive recreation plot to a residential one.
Justice Akpaza granted the accused bail in the sum of N50m and one surety each.
One of the counts reads, “That you, Yau Mohammed Gital, being the former Chief of Staff to the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and Sani Abba, being the Deputy Director, Mass Housing, Federal Capital Development Authority and the Special Assistant to the said Chief of Staff, sometime in March, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, with intent to defraud, conspired to do an illegal act to wit: obtained the sum of N30,000,000.00 (thirty million Naira only) from Chief Duru Mike Ejiogu, Managing Director of Visioni and Strauss Nigeria Limited under the false pretence that the said amount was to facilitate the change of Land Use in respect of Plot No: 523, Cadastral Zone BOO Kukwaba District File No. MISC 52843 from Passive Recreation to Residential Housing Estate and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.”
The judge ruled that the surety who must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 12, must be a resident of the Federal Capital Territory with evidence of home ownership.
The prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, asked for a date for the commencement of trial shortly after the arraignment.
The case was then adjourned till June 4. Copyright PUNCH.